The Backyard Quarantine Ultra 2020 Race Report by Randy Cocek

A great race report, written in Randy’s signature style.

Things I learned on my run (Quarantine BYU #2 edition):

-Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result

-A backyard ultra is running the same 6.7k loop over and over until you (or everyone else) quits.

-The loop is the same.

-Quitting is different.

-So, by definition, quitting is insane.

-Well, the science checks out…

-This Saturday was the second ‘Quarantine Backyard Ultra’…

-An event inspired by the original Backyard Ultra, created by the mad genius behind the Barkley Marathons

-Virtual events are usually pretty low key, since the race venue is a Zoom call from each runner’s house.

-That is, unless you have a friend like

Rudi Asseer

(and his lovely wife, Kyla)…

-A person like that will arrange an event that will:

-have as many participants as is allowed during phase II of the pandemic re-opening

-have multiple tents set up to protect from rain and sun.

-have an incredible array of food and drink available.

-mark all the turns on the course with neon green tape.

-have an ice bath for when runners get too hot or need to soak their legs.

-install an arch spanning his street. And a professional grade timing clock.

-hire a massage therapist to be onsite for the runners’ convenience.

-convince multiple friends and colleagues to volunteer for over 24 hours.

-and (most importantly) fund raise over $26000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa

-Needless to say, it was easily the best race setup of the year.

-The first couple of loops of a BYU are used to try and figure out the route, the landmarks and to dial in your pace.

-Using the landmarks, this loop could be described as this:

-Do 2 400m loops around the block.

-Turn right at the t-junction

-Turn right onto Greenbank

-Run past the Fire Station to the roundabout and turn right

-This is about 2.65k so far.

-Turn right at the first set of lights.

-Dodge the dog poo.

-Be on the lookout for a discarded shoe. This is the halfway point.

-Around 4.2k in, there’s a hill.

-At the top, there is a sumac pod on the ground.

-By the third loop, someone will have squashed it.

-Continue back to Greenbank again, turning right. Again.

-Right turn at the lights.

-Right turn on the first street after one named something like “Hemsworth”

-(When you get tired, this is how you remember things)

-Run under the arch.

-Do another 400m loop, because that isn’t at all soul crushing

-Done.

-With this format, no one is trying to pass each other. Everybody is supporting everyone.

-Unless the local news shows up with a camera truck. Then you have to scramble to make sure that they get a good shot of you.

-The temperatures this week have been over 40C with humidex on a number of days. And sunny.

-Luckily, race day temperatures fell to mid-20s and it was overcast. Although there was a fair bit of humidity.

-I have issues running in the heat. So I made sure to have a plan that involved keeping hydrated with electrolyte drinks.

-I may have made a bit of an oversight on another part of my nutrition plan.

-As the day gets warmer, having an ice bath at the end of the loop is terrific.

-There are two ways to get into that tub: slowly. Or CANNONBALL!

-Guess which one I chose.

-I’m not saying I was overheated at times… But I did produce a lot of steam!

-In other virtual BYUs (or looped races), seeing others drop out can be motivating.

-In regular BYUs, it’s largely the same. The camaraderie is great, but in the end, everyone else is an opponent.

-In this one though… everyone is your teammate. Someone dropping out hits you pretty hard.

-Also, they taunt you with the beer they get to drink while you eat a couple of bites from a plain bagel and drink electrolytes

-Labels on electrolyte drinks are there so you know what they tried to make it taste like.

-Guessing what it was intended to be is a fun way to pass the time later on.

-Good races will have a large selection of various food for folks to eat.

-Great races will have someone cook up a fresh batch of mashed potatoes… (thanks again Kyla)

-I’ve been offered many different types of aid over my racing experience, including (but not limited to):

-ibuprofen

-pepto bismol tablets

-gatorade

-water

-salt tablets

-gels

-sunscreen

-sponges

-popsicles

-vaseline

-But this was the first time I have ever been offered “Preparation H”.

-I still am not sure why I was asked that…

-As you run longer on hot days like this, changing your shirt and shoes is a luxurious feeling.

-It’s the best 5-10 minutes of the subsequent loop.

-After a half dozen or so loops, I had a pretty set game plan for the loops, that included 3 walk breaks.

-The best laid plans can go awry though.

-Especially if you’ve gone into a major caloric deficit.

-10 loops of this went very well, but part way through loop 11, things started to go haywire.

-By the 12th loop, my lack of calorie intake hit me pretty hard. By that point I had burned about 7000 calories.

-And I had taken in maybe 800. That is not a recipe for long term success.

-I had waited too long to long to start to take in food, and had gone past the point where I could.

-I was hoping on lap 13, that I might be able to take advantage of the lower temperatures, take it slow and recover over the next couple.

-But somewhere past the halfway shoe on lap 13, I looked up and realized… I wasn’t really sure where I was. Or how far I had gone.

-And that moment of clarity was enough to tell me that once I got back, it was over.

-I tapped out at 13 loops. Just a touch over 88k according to my watch.

-I would have liked to finish with a walking loop, but my body was done.

-Later that night, I found out that it’s possible to have your calfs, hamstrings and hips all cramp at the same time.

-It’s as wonderful as it sounds.

-All in all, it was a fantastic event. Rudi and Kyla went far far above what anyone could have expected for such a race.

-And HUGE

congratulations

to Rudi for completing 24 loops. 100 miles. Fantastic achievement!

Published by judyapiel

Runner, triathlete and coach. Owner of RunK2J, Community Support Coordinator at Bushtukah. Always looking for a new travel adventure.

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